Social care team help retired policeman retain independence at home

Richard and Julie Foster
Richard and Julie Foster

A retired policeman now wheelchair bound and suffering ill health has been given a helping hand to stay living at his home.

Richard Foster, aged 86, lives with his wife Julie at a bungalow in Towersey, and they moved there recently from Buckinghamshire to be near their son and daughter-in-law.

Richard has a number of serious health issues including dementia and recently suffered a stroke, and requires support 24 hours a day.

The former policeman, who was on duty for the funeral of King George VI in 1952, has been able to retain his independence and live in his own home with his wife thanks to help from the adult social care team at Oxfordshire County Council.

The couple’s wish to move to Oxfordshire required adult social care and Soha Housing, a not-for-profit housing association, to make a series of adaptations to the couple’s bungalow, which meant he did not have to be moved into a nursing home.

Oxfordshire County Council occupational therapist Sarah Clark said: “I assessed Mr Foster and the bungalow and made recommendations. Adaptations included constructing a permanent ramp at the front door, levelling access to the rear patio door, widening internal doorways, raising the toilet on to a plinth and installing a mounted shower chair and shower screens.

“There were also several minor adaptations undertaken to reflect Mr Foster’s changing medical needs such as fitting rails, rehanging doors and relocating radiators. Soha managed both the minor and major adaptations. Without these adaptations Mr Foster would not be able to continue to live at home and would have needed to move to a nursing home. We’ve also provided several pieces of equipment to help Mr Foster.

“Mr Foster is now unable to mobilise and uses a wheelchair permanently. He needs hoisting for all transfers. Although he was initially fearful of this he is now happier and has responded well to the ceiling track hoist. He has an excellent relationship with his carers who love to listen to his stories and his time as a mounted policeman in Brighton.”

Richard met Julie in 1969 and they married in 1973. Julie was a carer for 25 years in Buckinghamshire.

Speaking about the work to the patio doors at his property, Richard said: “I can now go out in to the sunshine to sit in the wheelchair in my garden.”

His wife Julie added: “The ceiling hoist is fantastic. It’s so much more relaxing for Richard and easier for me and the carers. The service we have received has been absolutely fantastic. We couldn’t have wished for a better person than Sarah to work with us. Everything has been so quick and efficient. The whole family appreciates what has been done for us. Sarah has done everything in her power to make things comfortable for us.”

Cllr Lawrie Stratford, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, said: “Richard’s story just shows how much of a difference our adult social care teams make to people’s lives, especially in terms of ensuring people retain their independence

“Working with partners at the district council and Soha we’ve achieved a great deal for the Foster family. I know they’re pleased and we’re only too happy to have been able to help such a man who spent his career serving his country with distinction.”

Work to make changes to the bungalow was paid for thanks to a Disabled Facilities Grant provided by South Oxfordshire District Council as well as minor adaptations funded by Soha.

Cllr Tony Harbour, Cabinet member for environmental health at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “I am very pleased that we were able to help Mr Foster to stay in his own home by providing Disabled Facilities Grant funding. If you or someone you know has a mobility problem which makes moving around the home difficult please speak with the county council to find out what help could be available.”

Visit http://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk